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Getting our Affairs in Order

Gail Oliver Cambridge | April 2024

A few months ago, I was working on my laptop when my eyes suddenly went dark. It was a weird and scary feeling as I didn’t know what was going on. My body was okay, and I had not experienced any ill effects before this occurred. I was unable to open my eyes and felt powerless, but I had an awareness because I spoke aloud, “Oh God, what’s happening?” Then, I thought, “Ah, so this is how it feels to die, a kind of fading away.” Another thought popped up, “Dang, no one knows my passwords and codes!”


I’m sure most of you have a will, trust, healthcare directive, power of attorney, and other such items. If not, please begin to put them in place because without them the state court will determine how to distribute your assets following your death, not you. For those of you who are procrastinating doing such things, I believe you should at least think about what you want and write a letter outlining your wishes, including where to find your stash!


Some of us have gone through situations where there’s absolute chaos after a loved one’s demise. Grieving families are left not knowing where things are located, which way to turn, and what to do. Leaving a note is very helpful to others. It forces us to think of simple things we would want to have done right, from our funeral arrangements to who gets our secret recipe. It’s also about sharing with someone where they can find our personal documents, e.g. will, insurance policies, passport, birth certificates, and information on our loans/leases, credit cards, and bank accounts. If we have a life insurance policy, disbursement wouldn’t be made in time to cover funeral costs, so we should leave information about this. We must also remember to communicate any updates.


Of course, with such a note, whether our desires are carried out depends on the people we leave behind. They may see fit to make changes as we’ll be gone (I’ll be a fly on the wall!) and won’t know the result—true, but unkind. This would not be the case with a will as an executor has to carry out its provisions. Thus, having a complete and current will is the best way to ensure our wishes are known and fulfilled.


The realization that no one knew my passwords ratcheted up the panic I felt. I don’t want to feel so helpless again—at least about matters I can control! While I do have a will and other documents, no one knew my passwords for my bank and other accounts, nor could they gain access to my laptop. Well, writing about this got me organized and I compiled the relevant information.


Thankfully, I’m fine after my “blackout.” After I shared my experience with a friend, she said that we wouldn’t know when we’d be in the process of dying and likened it to when we fall asleep while watching TV, knitting, or being involved in some other capacity. We don’t know when we doze off and it’s only by the grace of God that we awaken later. Thinking about dying isn’t pleasant but death will claim each of us at some point. So, let’s put our affairs in order before we run out of time. It will give us peace of mind now and help our loved ones later.


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